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Unlimited holiday and generous sick pay

Unlimited holiday and generous sick pay

Posted: 9th December 2021

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      We’re looking to introduce unlimited holiday and generous sick pay. Can anyone share their experience or policies on this?

      Many thanks


        Hi Sam,

        some useful examples externally here on the unlimited leave.  I think it depends on the culture as to how successful it is as we know some organisations who have stopped because people weren’t taking enough holiday (perhaps you could ask your people what they think?). Maybe still have a number, but there’s no policy or tracking so it feels more adult? On the sickness, I would go for ‘manager discretion’ as they will know what’s right for each person depending on the circumstances (handy when there is an occasional rogue employee!).

        Hope that helps


          My experience of unlimited holiday, several years in, is that some people don’t take enough and unfortunately some take far too much, almost every school holiday and all sorts, and managers find it hard to say no when it is unlimited.  “An expectation of reasonableness” is open to challenge. You also have to have a “nominal” amount in mind for those on maternity leave and/or long term sick.

          I find people prefer to have parameters to work within and it is fairer for all.  Set a number, say 25 and people can buy more or sell 5.  Add in a birthday day and a “me” day too.  If you do go for it, I wouldn’t call it unlimited!

          I agree with Karen on the sick pay.  Keep it to 2 weeks a year for the coughs, colds, headaches and hangovers.  Anything more is at manager discretion and should be for more serious illnesses or injuries.


            Re sick pay we pay for 20 days sick leave before dropping down to SSP – this is in a 12 month rolling period.
            Our managers carry out return to work conversations after all periods of sick leave and it is obviously tracked as well in our HRIS – that way we can spot any issues and address them if needs be (capability etc. if required)

            We have not had people abusing the system (we are a mixed business with a range of roles from contact centre to tech, finance, marketing etc. roles)

            Annual leave we have set number of holidays but we are considering floating bank holidays


              We do the same as Hannah above for sick leave, 4 weeks at full pay in rolling 12 months then SSP / discretion.

              I remember when Richard Branson introduced the unlimited holidays years ago, tbh I just think it’s gimmicky and sounds good but as others have said ironically a lot of people usually don’t take even their normal allowance, a lot of people feel guilty (and then others abuse).  I think setting clear parameters and giving a good generous holiday allowance with ability to carry over/buy more is the way forward.

              We have 33 days and allow carry over of 5 days – we’re a small start up of 18 people.

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